Monday, September 20, 2004

It's Late, But Some Are Still Debating Voter Reg

Note from CarlD: Third Coast Press is a left publication in Chicago, and this debte broke out on Chicago Indymedia when they announced having a voter registration party

Commentor: Third Coast Press endorsing Kerry? Inquiring minds want to know.

Another Commentor: Since it’s a "Third Coast Press" endorsement of another rich liberal who will carry out the same tired policies, but with "feel your pain" bullshit, it can't be too direct. Therefore, its talk about "register to vote" and then plenty of verbiage about how bad El Busho is. Isn't the alternative rather apparent?

CarlD: Goodness, haven't you guys yet been able to figure out that there's a difference between ENDORSING a candidate because you support some or most of his positions, and VOTING for a candidate because you want to unseat or defeat his or her opponent? It's really not rocket science, but I guess it's a little too deep for a few folks.

Garth: I don't want to diss my 3rd Coast compadres, I don't know the specifics of why the Voter Registration party was organized. All I can say is that it's not just Kerry that's being decided upon. I think also that it's a step to make ordinary folk a little more politically aware. This is one goal of the paper.

Folks should also be aware that some 3rd Coast people are more liberal and more radical and even more conservative than each other. This avoidance of a straight dogmatic political rag is one reason I love the project so much.

Speaking for myself, the "Anybody but Bush" philosophy sets the bar pretty low. Hence Kerry. Remember the whole,"Will the real Peace Candidate please stand up?" We went from Kucinich as simply too radical, to the Peace Puppet Dean being taken out by the media with his "Primal Yell" And finally, Kerry, who banked on his Vietnam experience to stand in as the "Real Peace Candidate" who now claims only to wage a "better Iraq war."

Carl's argument quickly puts one in a dangerous camp. For one, why are we 'in the trench folk' doing the work of Democrats? Especially when they have more resources than we? Even more so in a non-swing state that's Democratic? The 'vote against your enemy' approach leaves me with no options to vote for.

Anyway, it's beautiful outside and I need to go do some constructive things. Ciao.

CarlD: Garth says: 'Carl's argument quickly puts one in a dangerous camp. For one, why are we 'in the trench folk' doing the work of Democrats? Especially when they have more resources than we? Even more so in a non-swing state that's Democratic? The 'vote against your enemy' approach leaves me with no options to vote for.'

Garth, you're looking at the 'work in the trenches' too narrowly. We are assisting the Democrats only in one tactical respect: most of the people we register are likely to vote for Kerry. But the people we are training as registrars, poll watchers, election judges, fundraisers, canvassers, neighborhood alliance builders, etc, are doing it for THEIR neighborhood peace & justice groups, not for the Democrats.

Except for the antiwar Democratic elected officials who come to our meetings, we don't even meet with the Democratic party. After Nov 2, no matter who wins, these organizational gains will belong to US, not the Dems. AS for someone to positively vote FOR, I agree its slim pickings. We had Kucinich in the primaries, and that was about it. As for Illinois being in the bag, so far we have sent hundreds of volunteers to work weekends in Wisconsin, Ohio and Iowa.

As for what's most dangerous, I think that's to follow Uncle Karl Rove's advice to the antiwar movement: stay away from the polls on election day.

Garth: Carl, Later I thought I shouldn't use that phrase about the "dangerous camp."

One concern of mine is exactly about the day after the big election. If Kerry is elected, will many of those mobilized voter people think all is won? and what about if G.W. gets it? Will those people turn away in frustration?

It seems to me that a lot of hope is being put into this election, and that is it's own little trick bag. Would I rather have Kerry than Bush? That's an easy question for a lot of people. But when I think about the Iraqis who are suffering, how can I pretend to put hope in this election?

From my meager readings on Tricky Dick and LBJ during the Vietnam war, (or American war as the Vietnamese called it) I see Kerry as a person who is beholden to many of the same corporate interests as Bush. Nor do I think that he'll resolve the war and have 'peace with honor', because the methods he proposes using are the same.

So, back to the electoral thing, I think if people feel motivated to go out and 'rock the vote', then it's the next step in their progression that hopefully leads to a fuller critcal consciousness.

Ultimately for this war to end, I think we all need to stop accepting the benefits. Soldiers need to refuse. etc. As a hypocrite, I remind myself of Berrigan's words. That of course we still have war, because war is being waged by so many with such totality. Yet we wage peace with half a heart...

I hope you're right. I hope that some of the electoral work moves people past electoral work. Guess if we could do a survey we could find out...

CarlD: Garth, I've found that electoral work is like anything else--you have a wide range of views. Most people we work with have few illusions about Kerry, they are just determined to fire Bush. If Kerry wins, they're ready to hit the ground running the next day to mobilize against the war aimed at him. Still, I do run into people who are enamored of Kerry and claim that if he loses, they're moving to Canada or Europe or somewhere--who knows?

To me, the critical question is how do we CONSOLIDATE most of these folks we've mobilized into ongoing grassroots independent political organizations. If we don't do this quickly and creatively right after the election, then some of the critique of our work will be true, that we're just a tail on the Democrats.

We'll see how it works out...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi - You have a great blog. I have a webpage about self defense plea I'd like you to visit. Here's the link

GoStats web counter